An Introduction to Sociolinguistics: Accents, Attitudes and Identity Course - University of York


2 locations available
Read more about this program on the institution's website

Program Description


Learn how sociolinguists explore the relationship between language and the expression of personal, social and cultural identity.

Learn what your attitude to accents and dialects says about yourself and society

We all have preferred accents and ways of speaking, but what makes something ‘good’ or ‘bad’ English? On this course, you will explore where our attitudes to language come from, how they are formed, and what they tell us about society.

You will be introduced to a range of sociolinguistic research methods and learn what these methods tell us about our individual sense of identity. You will also study their impact on social factors like gender, social class, and national affiliation. Plus, you will determine the real-world implications of language attitudes on our society as a whole.

What topics will you cover?

  • Introduction to the study of language attitudes.
  • How do you measure attitudes?
  • What is the relationship between language and identity?
  • Why language attitudes matter.

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. 

  • Available now

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to:

  • Describe what is meant by accent and dialect and how attitudes to these are arbitrary.
  • Reflect upon stereotypes about accent and dialect, and how these impact on real-world interactions.
  • Develop a better understanding of the approaches used within Sociolinguistic research.
  • Explore recent developments in the field of Sociolinguistics.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for school or college students who are interested in studying English language and linguistics at University. This course will also be of interest to English A-Level and Advanced Higher teachers, and anyone with an interest in spoken language and accents.

Who will you learn with?

Claire Childs

I am a Lecturer in English Language & Linguistics at the University of York. I teach modules in sociolinguistics and conduct research into grammatical variation and change in English.

Dom Watt

I'm Senior Lecturer in Sociolinguistics at the University of York. I teach classes in phonetics, sociolinguistics, and forensic linguistics.

Sarah Lapacz

I am a Linguistics PhD student and Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of York. My research investigates taboo language and discrimination through language.

Sam Hellmuth

I am a Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at the University of York. I teach phonetics and phonology, and my research explores variation in intonation patterns across English dialects.

Justin Lo

I am a PhD Candidate at the University of York and conduct research into bilingualism in forensic phonetics. I teach sociolinguistics and phonetics as a Graduate Teaching Assistant.


Who developed the course?

University of York

The University of York combines the pursuit of academic excellence with a culture of inclusion, which encourages everyone – from a variety of backgrounds – to achieve their best.

Join this course



$259.99 for one year

Join free and you will get:

  • Access to this course for 6 weeks

Upgrade this course and you will get:

  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • Access to this course’s tests as well as a print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible

Buy Unlimited and you will get:

  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep access to any course you've achieved a digital Certificate of Achievement on, for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year
Last updated Sep 2020

About the School

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Learn 100% online with world-class universities and industry experts. Develop your career, learn a new skill, or pursue your hobbies with flexible online courses. Read less
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